“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as King and deal wisely and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which He will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.” – Jeremiah 23:5-6
It can be challenging to read a passage like this when, all around us, the world is full of chaos, war and strife. We might wonder what this prophecy could possibly mean to a 21st century Christian. We know that Christ has come, but as His followers, we walk in a constant tension between joy and pain, life and death.
On one hand, we know the love and grace of our Lord and Savior. Therefore, we enjoy the sweet blessings of “Emmanuel”- God’s presence, peace and power within us. On the other hand, we live in a dark and fallen world. Every day we see and feel the effects of sin…pain, disease, war, grief and death. We shake our heads in dismay and our hearts break. We wonder and ask our Lord, “How can this be? Where is your justice? How long will you let this go on? Is there really any hope for peace on earth?”
The truth is, there is nothing new about the state of the world or the human heart. The prophet Jeremiah, like we, lived in troubled times. He watched people all around him fall into sin. As they turned away from the One True God, their families and nation disintegrated and Jeremiah lamented:
“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick. Who can understand it?”(Jeremiah 17:9)
In his dismay, however, Jeremiah found hope in the character and promises of our God. He knew that, in His perfect holiness, God would never allow darkness and injustice to prevail over His beloved creation.
“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end…”(Lamentations 3:22)
Jeremiah, like all the Prophets, knew…and we know that God Himself will make right all that is wrong in our fallen world: He is the only one who could. This restoration began when Jesus Christ, in whom all the fullness of God dwells, came to live and die for God’s people. Christ’s Kingdom was indeed established in his first coming: as the “Righteous branch” was raised up in resurrection, the curse of sin was broken. The righteousness of Jesus is now given to those who live by faith: in Christ, God’s people are saved and dwell securely, despite our sin-sick world. Just as the prophets waited for Christ’s first coming, we too wait. We wait as God continues to extend grace and welcome people into His eternal Kingdom. The joys and beauty in this life point us to a future in which all will be as our good and faithful
Creator intended; with Christ as King, ruling in wisdom, justice and righteousness. Even so, Come Lord Jesus!
Father God, thank you that you have chosen to withhold your righteous judgement that I deserve and, instead, have lavished me with your love and grace. Help me to focus on your power and promises, and to offer myself wholly to ‘your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
~ Donna Dobbs